Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SNIFT, v., n.

I. v. To puff, snort, blow. Specif., of the elements: to swirl on gusts of wind; of hail: to rattle briskly in falling (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Sc. 1865 S. Smiles Engineers IV. 135:
The machine snifted at many openings.
Ags. 1869 R. Leighton Poems 296:
Rain, and sleet, and snaw, Whilk sperge and snift athort the lift.

II. n. A sniff, a smell, whiff, a scent, a trace. Also in Eng. dial. Deriv. snifty, haughty, disdainful (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; em.Sc.(b), Wgt., Rxb. 1971). Cf. colloq. and dial. Eng. sniffy, snuffy, id. Edb. 1894 Chambers's Jnl. (8 Sept.) 572:
And there's been neither word, smell, nor snift o' him since!

[Prob. reduced form of Snifter, q.v.]

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"Snift v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2022 <>



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